October 20, 2010

the slurry

as ideas move across, a wet
interaction will form, made
of material from the sharpening
mind and the listener--it is important that this
remain in the poem to facilitate
slippage and friction

as the moisture in the language
drops, it is crucial that it be kept wet,
slurry re-applied to the reading act because
it contains all the particles—the pieces and fragments
of thought up until that point in the
text—and so will contribute to the
meaning: fine, keen, ready to work

May 12, 2010

High rings & harm

by Si Transken

It’s not funny. It’s tragically absurd.
Ugly as an incurable ill that intermittently
recedes below the skin. The sores stop seeping.
It camouflages itself  as non-contagious.

You know you’re old when you’ve sat on
more than a 100 hiring committees – from feminist
grassroots non-profits to hiring committees
for org.coms with planes of snow men in suits.

Usually the hired person has an inside track
to the ear of someone already who knows
someone who is sleeping with someone or
the son or daughter of a someone.

Sometimes the most wrong candidate is chosen.
Appointed because they’re the least disliked, 
minimally offensive  – rather than
that they’re the most skill endowed.

My molars are worn from all the grinding.

Or the person with the obviously
politically correct & stacked disadvantages
gets the position. Stats improve.
No structural or organization change.

Someones make each other shine
& multiply. They fortify each other’s
fortresses. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Everyone’s invited to a barbeque.

Church & club members are keenest
to reproduce their own while being
butter slimy & honey honey sweet
about honesty & transparent process.

I know I’m old because I care only
passingly these days. I see the slides & slithers
of power under the enunciations, behind
the doors, through dozens of disguises.

My eyes hurt from watching all this.

Aware. Aching with ridiculous impotency
I see the lean of the hiring panel into following the
leader who is  the whitest, most Big Daddy,
heterosexual, healthy unflawed body …

Recycle the old boy’s networks.
Now with a Sarah Palin/ Margaret Thatcher, Queen Bee,
Cheerleader girl, handmaiden casting with the boys.
Or a token beige boy’s allowed to pretend to lead.

Old tricks. Old codes. An old dog
I pull my unremarkable tail between my slow legs
with shame for being in the same room –
unable to bark. Or even shit on their shoes. 

April 20, 2010

Decommissioning the Road In

that part living human made
dammed or cut, a lack
of flow in the elements of knowledge
relegated to charts and boardroom
sludge, tailings and run-off clogged
with the residue of ire

to remove the road’s meaning

from here to there the trans-
port a running over, a spill-
way tread deep into the layered
stories of who and what before

rail, pipe, asphalt, ATV
tracks all to get what’s to be got
out of other concerns duly
noted in the consultation process

that living flow is nonhuman
made and divisible by measures,
an unknown technology and
narrative turn just where the road
thought it was stable, before the new

mythology told it why.

March 30, 2010

from "The Barricades Project, the Life-Long Poem, and the Politics of Form Notes towards a Prospectus" by Stephen Collis

"I am consistently struck by the singular unambitiousness of much contemporary poetry. It would seem that, as poetry slipped from cultural significance (or at least was perceived to have slipped from perceived significance), poets have simultaneously retired to the safety of lyric introspection, becoming specialists of the quotidian, the small, the insular, the private—shrinking from the historical, social, and public. So poets bemoan the loss of “the centrality of the single poem,” and seek a return to the safe sealed domain of the singular page." 

March 19, 2010

Speaking in English

                                  I have these
voices in my blood that sang me sitting here
                                                            John Lent

You could walk along an avenue here
many places actually and there would appear
unmagically asphalt and road signs and
houses, large and small, and a store
and another (a pedestrian—“hello”) and
another (this one selling something you need
to go with the stuff the first one is selling)
and a restaurant and another,
a government office, a police station . . .
well, you get the picture

You could walk along an avenue here
unmagically and begin to peel away
its imposition, to trace the paths
of its assertion, to unearth (much like
an unearthed mass grave that had gone
unrecorded) the measures of violence
that made this avenue you walk

You could walk differently along this
incline of forgotten waterways
and smell the uprooted vegetation
notice a furtive movement here
a motion that is unmagically you.

March 13, 2010

Poem’s Epitaph

 now or then it might be
a letter a
chiseled sound-
shaped trace I

read at the funeral
a eulogy-filled
apology for not being
more attentive to language

                                  Here Lies
Poem (2008-2011)
Is Written Here

What Is Written

and you know Poem didn’t mean
it in jest or to disrupt
the wake

more of a moreover, more
sanguine than that

I still write to Poem sometimes

long complaints and article
analysis resurrecting old
readings and opinions of Poem,

why she left and who followed

it is one of those moments
when you recognize loss           in an early morning daze, and

                        there Poem is again
                        agitated, vibrant,
                        reaching for the plums

March 2, 2010

Poem Communally Edits

1) Go to a search engine, see if somebody else has done it already.

2) Poem blogs, studies the commentary cross-linked to other blogs.

3) Twitters in a hundred and forty characters. See if I can get that small. See if it gets retweeted

4) Open source the text; supply some instructables, see if the community takes it any further.

5) Start a Ning social network Poem, the name of the network will be the title, see if anybody accumulates around Poem.

6) Make a Poem video. Youtube it, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates.

7) Create a design fiction that pretends that Poem has already been written. Create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to Poem and see if anybody builds it.

8) Exacerbate or intensify Poem with a work of interventionist tactical media.

9) Find some kind of pretty illustrations from the Flickr 'On Nothing' photo pool.

10) Then, and only then, Poem will go out and actually talk to someone.

11) Recombine data; go to step 1)

March 1, 2010

Poem’s Commodity Fetish

in the reading
room or ancient tomb Poem
dreams of a well-wrought
yearning for something

more stylish or tricky
to show your friends or
ad lib in front of a modest
audience in that quiet café downtown

although at the time Poem
was disappointed with her purchase:
the seams hasty, the graphics
uninspired, an oily flavour . . .

sometimes the transaction is meant
to frustrate, like a rebellious
daughter or mid-life crisis tattoo

the text of which Poem now
carries on her left thigh high
enough to be her own

I can’t tell what is
there and there is no use

Poem and the Nothing Ever After

when verbs to be are
reclining not even wanting
to work standing well away from the road
where no traffic moves and
an inconsistent hum comes
from somewhere sourceless

to complicate contemplation
a stillness longing into nothing
more and narrative stalled
stuttering to a stop so the
road’s servitude isn’t one any more

postmodernism slips into the reeds
covered in mud called courage and carrying
succulents for the unstable winter

and everything moves
an inhuman vibration or
responsive leafy listening verging
on an apocalypse of knowledge or
when the machines and plots
desist, it is what is left
blandly undefined and bushed

what is left is a rift—ahistorical
and clustered around a faint
filtering disorder called shelter;
you and I live there for years until
the wild men came with weapons—
after that no records were kept . . .

what is left is considered
faulty verse, a hack’s
ruinous reinvention of negative
culpability—‘git outta here
ya damn tree-hugger, damn
hippy—build something or die!’

February 26, 2010

Poem Considers Masculine Profit

penniless Poem does not look
well in this light, stark and industrial
dawns with loud semis coming
and going from the factory outlet

behind, a swamp squawks and chitters—
it is unclear whether it pre-existed the mall
or was moved there 

Poem is waiting for a ride or something
like epiphany and is attracting stares

the guy across the way selling
burgers and whistling at a vague idea of salvation

why does Poem always end up out of it?
out of sync? out of fashion? out of the way?

pacifism ripples from the untoward
breeze, an ease, a conditional spark of

not knowing why or who to demean, not
wanting to own any of those favorite terms for torture

commercial driving love into mouths, a kind of self-
immolition and Poem exists, stubborn leaflets crumpling under
the boots of the pornographic entrepreneurs
consolidating an unsustainable hate into
something all the stakeholders can approve

jeez, Poem thinks, presses a thumb to his
pulse—if I am not a live man then I’d better
find some new seeds—not a plot but an area—

something simple, some camouflage, some cache

February 9, 2010

January 10, 2010

on the road to the downsized pulp mill

past the oxeye daisies, five or ten
in a clump in the gravel dust
piling on the leaves and petals

alder and cottonwood saplings
shining in the too-hot sun clinging
to the cutbanks and riverbanks
and the road’s cracked asphalt
gleams with the residue of tar and metal

the sound of the nechako is lost in the blare
of trucks and the glare of the windshields
pass along the far shore where a few
young pines survive and lean over the railway tracks

a bald eagle might pass over but not today—
if there are salmon they would have snuck by
months ago—so crows play in the hot
updrafts and a boy pedals down to look for
saskatoons and room to think of something new